Realtor’s Lobbyist & Council Pres. Salvatore Opposes Fane Tower, Draws Criticism From Unions

Tuesday, August 07, 2018


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Realtor's lobbyist and Council President Salvatore

Realtor's lobbyist and City Council President David Salvatore has announced that he opposes the zoning changes needed for the proposed 46-story Fane Tower -- the largest private investment in Providence in the past 20 years -- an estimated $250 to $300 million.

"Well, I'm disappointed he's come out at this point that he's opposed -- it hasn't been properly been vetted through City Council," said Michael Sabitoni, President of the Building Trade Unions.  "I recently sent a letter to the City Council about the project on this matter -- it's a dereliction of the duty."

“Mr. Fane is explicitly on the record as only interested in the current location – the parcel at Dorrance and Dyer on the vacant 195 land – land that he spent considerable time, effort and resources in seeking to acquire through an open and rigorous process by the 195 Commission. He is disappointed in the Council President’s position but is not interested in any other site in the city. And to be crystal clear, while there has been a lot of presumption and talk, until today’s letter from President Salvatore no one from the city, in any official capacity, has approached or presented Mr. Fane with any information or offer(s) related to any other parcel or lot,” said Dante Bellini, Jr., spokesperson for The Fane Organization.

Salvatore, a $3,000-a-month State House lobbyist has been on the Providence City Council since 2010 and the proposed Fane project is by far the single largest private investment into the city — the most since the Providence Place Mall was proposed in the early 1990s. GoLocal had repeatedly tried to reach Salvatore repeatedly via email, phone and text as well as through his City Hall staff, but he has refused comment on the project until today. He continues to refuse to comment if he has sought clearance from the Rhode Island Ethics Commission specifically on his dual role as a lobbyist for the Realtors and his role on the City Council as it relates to the Fane project.

Previously, Sabitoni had sent a letter to Salvatore asking for the be sent back to the Ordinance Committee for a full hearing on the project.

Dear President Salvatore: On behalf of the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council and our seventeen (17) individual trade unions representing 9,500 members, many of whom live in the City of Providence, I write request that you to take urgent action regarding the proposed Fane Tower project. As you know the Ordinance Committee recently voted to not recommend a zoning change required for the proposed Fane Tower to proceed. At this hearing that my members and I attended, much of the information presented at the hearing was not accurate. In addition, we believe the committee should have extended the courtesy of inviting and providing the developer with an opportunity to present a project of this magnitude to the committee Accordingly, I am writing to respectfully request that, at its next meeting or at a call of a special meeting, the City Council send the project back to the Ordinance Committee for a fair hearing on the merits for this mega project and afford the developer (who has already spent an estimated $3 million) the opportunity to make a full presentation. I believe anything less would be a dereliction of the council’s duty to Providence taxpayers. Thank you for your attention to this matter and if I could kindly receive a reply I would sincerely appreciate it.

Sincerely, /s/Michael F. Sabitoni Michael F. Sabitoni President


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